I just realized that I neglected to send my post-internship survey to you all back in early April. Tomorrow I have a meeting in the Capitol with internship coordinators from around the state and with legislative staff. You should have received an email inviting you take a survey a few minutes ago. Please take the survey promptly so that I can share relevant results in tomorrow's meeting.
The survey is mostly for me, but a few questions (such as the quality of the match between you and your legislator) are helpful to legislative staff. I don't share the entire survey results with legislative staff, only the questions relevant to what they do.
Even if you don't see this email until after that meeting is over, please respond anyway so that I can be aware of your views.
Your responses are anonymous.
Thanks in advance for participating.
You can now log into the 399r website to see your overall grade calculation for the course.
I'll be in and out of my office a lot over the next few days. Many of you have yet to pick up your portfolios. If you're on campus anyway, you're welcome to stop in and see if I'm here. If you're going to make a special trip to the SWKT to get your portfolio, though, it would be wise to email me first and check whether I'll be here at the time you plan to stop by.
Best of luck as you forge ahead in life.
I have finished grading portfolios. Log into the 399r website to see your score. Most of the portfolios were excellent.
I expect to be in my office today, tomorrow, and the first few days of next week. I'm typically here from 9am to 4pm at a minimum. If I'm gone during the day, it's usually for less than 10 minutes. Come pick up your portfolio when it's convenient.
When you log in to check your grade, you'll also see your "performance in internship" score, which is heavily influenced by your legislator's letter. Remember that a score of 95 (for example) does NOT mean I have deducted 5 points. You don't start from an assumption of perfection (i.e. 100) and lose points only for errors. Rather, as in any course, you start from an assumption of averageness (around 80) and move up or down from there. Most of you impressed me very much and wound up with very favorable scores for your performance. Good job.
Although it was not a traditional course, please do complete the 399r course evaluation when you do your student ratings this semester. Ratings end today, so don't delay.
If you're doing a term paper, remember it's due tomorrow (Tues) by close of business. You can bring it to me or just put it in the drop box by the 7th floor SWKT elevators. Either way, get it in by 4:45 to be on the safe side. If you put it in the box after the office closes, it gets counted as coming in a day late. Late penalties are in the syllabus.
I expect you'll be able to pick up portfolios in a couple days. I'll let you know. Each one is about 30 minutes of grading, so it takes a while, especially since it's not the only thing on my plate.
I spent last week in Dallas and will be in Chicago later this week. I'm in my office today and tomorrow if you're working on a term paper and would like to meet about it. Just drop in any time. Due next Tuesday.
I'm busily grading portfolios. I expect to finish grading them before finals start so you can pick them up before leaving town.
The stack of portfolios typically gets 2-3 feet tall. That's not going to fit in the department's assignment drop box. That's not going to fit into my department mail box. And the department secretaries really don't want that pile growing on their desk.
I should be in my office almost the entire day tomorrow, except for a 12p-1p meeting. I typically arrive around 8:30 and leave shortly before 5. Please bring your portfolio to my office. If I'm not here, you can leave it with the secretaries, but please check whether I'm here first.
If you're doing a term paper, remember not to put off seeing me for help if you need it. I'll be here tomorrow. Friday I'll be here until 2ish. Then, I'll be out more often than not until the paper comes due.
I have very little on my schedule between now and Thursday afternoon (when portfolios are due). However, I will not be in my office at all next week (April 1-5), and I'll be out again for most of the next week (April 10-12).
Punchline: If you're working on a term paper, I'm available to help you this week and on April 8 and 9, but that's about it. Don't procrastinate.
Most of you are probably still asleep and resting up. Enjoy.
Remember to get your evaluation letter, and remember about the 399r meeting Tuesday morning. I wanted to send along an announcement you may find interesting.
Peter Valcarce will be visiting campus on Tuesday, March 19th at 4:30pm for a talk about his views of the 2012 campaign and his expectations for 2014. A BYU alumnus, Valcarce is co-founder and CEO of Arena Communications, a well-known Republican direct-mail firm. He has produced direct-mail advertising for a variety of national and state campaigns and party organizations. The title of his talk is "What Went Wrong for the Republicans in 2012 and What They Should Be Saying in 2014." The event will take place in B192 JFSB (the Education in Zion Theater).
Remember to request an evaluation letter as the session winds down. Check the portfolio instructions for details.
Remember that there is a 399r meeting next Tuesday. See the syllabus for details.
Enjoy the last couple days.
Just a heads up for 6 credit students:
I made substantial revisions and clarifications to the term paper instructions. You are not bound by these revisions and aren't even required to look at them if you don't want to. I made the revisions mainly to address weaknesses that I found myself commenting on repeatedly when responding to proposals yesterday.
If you aren't wholly attached to your present proposal, you are welcome to look at the revised instructions and see whether they inspire you toward something you'll enjoy more. But, again, if you are content with the proposal you originally submitted, you are welcome to just stick with that.
Assuming decent traffic on the freeways, I should hit the Capitol by 9 today if not earlier. I'll be around until maybe 11. I'll be floating around watching committees and then in the galleries watching the floor. Call or text if you can't find me but want to visit about anything.
If you aren't doing a term paper (i.e. you're not doing 6 credits), you can ignore this message. For the rest of you, you should have received an email from me commenting on your proposal. Here are a couple comments that apply to pretty much everybody, so whether I mentioned these points in my personal email to you, please consider them anyway.
First: The literature. Writing an excellent paper almost always requires looking up what has been written by researchers in the past. Most of that research will be examining Congress. There are different people and different institutional rules in Congress than in the Utah Legislature, so you may be observing totally different dynamics than what the Congressional literature has observed. That's fine. But strengthen your paper by presenting the Congressional research (or by presenting research focused on state legislatures specifically if you can find it), and then explaining why things are similar or different in the Utah Legislature. If you have trouble finding relevant research literature, visit with me after your internship and I'll help you.
Second: I have LOTS of data that can help you. Don't reinvent the wheel by collecting data on your own that I've already got, and don't speak in broad generalities when there is specific data you could get from me that would strengthen your case. In particular, I have three general types of data. (1) Extensive data about bills and votes in the Legislature (lots more than this, for example). (2) A survey of Utah Legislators that may be particularly helpful if you are studying how constituents or lobbyists influence legislators, or if you are studying the importance of committees/leaders/etc. (3) Access to surveys of Utah voters that MIGHT help if you need to know how voters feel about particular issues. Please visit with me after the internship if you've got data needs.
Third: I don't share your term paper with anybody at all. It is only between me and you. Some of the term paper prompts ask you to imagine that you're writing a textbook chapter. That's just a conceit to help you approach the assignment. I won't actually share your paper with anybody, including future students.
(The papers you read in the prep course that were written by past interns went through a significant process of redaction that removed sensitive stories and identifying details, after which permission was obtained from the author and other relevant parties; I don't just put a student's paper into the syllabus willy-nilly.)
Your proposals look good on the whole. You aren't bound to them, though. If you choose to change your topic, please visit with me after the internship and discuss your new idea so I can give you some guidance before you get too deep into things.
If you want to talk about your term paper proposal that's due this weekend (if you're doing 6 credits) or anything else, I'll be in the galleries from around 10-11. Text me if you can't find me and want to.
I just made some minor clarifying updates to the portfolio instructions and also the term paper instructions. If you downloaded the instructions previously, please re-download them for future use.
You should have several good portfolio entries piled up by now. Try to collect 150% as many as you need by the end of the session. By now, I hope you've got 80% as many as you need at least.
If you're doing 6 credits, your term paper proposal is due this weekend. I hope you've got an idea by now for a topic.
I'll be in the capitol Tuesday morning from around 9:30 until 1:00ish. If you have questions about the portfolio or about the term paper, we should visit for a few minutes. Obviously we can talk about any other questions you may have, too.
My schedule is very flexible when I'm in the capitol. If you call or text, I can usually meet you within 5 minutes. If you've lost my mobile number, email me and I'll send it to you.
Howdy. From what I can tell, it looks like the studentratings.byu.edu site will allow you to submit your ratings of PlSc 297 until next Saturday, March 2nd. Please do so.
You'll have a chance to evaluate 399r at the end of the semester; this is just for 297. When evaluating 297, please focus your comments on whether the course adequately prepared you for the internship (based on what you've done so far) and how it could be improved.
I pay careful attention to student ratings (especially comments) in all my courses, but even more so in 297. It's hugely important to me that PlSc 297 be useful to you. Please do fill out the ratings. If you thought it was good, tell me what went well. If you thought it could be improved, tell me how.
By the end of the session, you'll need several good portfolio entries. (The exact number depends on how many credits you are taking of 399r.) If you haven't already started, you should be setting aside potential entries now.
It's wise to set aside twice as many items as you'll actually need for the portfolio. That way, at the end of the session, you can pick the very best ones and have a strong showing.
I suggest you review the portfolio instructions in the next day or two. Suggestions for possible entries:
1. Emails to constituents. (Maybe include 2-3 examples in a single entry.)
2. Meetings with VIPs. (What did you learn by shadowing your legislator to a meeting with the governor? A photo makes a nice visual aid here if you have one.)
3. Blue notes as a visual aid for an entry about how you helped your legislator interact with influencers.
4. A copy of a constituent survey report you produced.
5. Talking points you've written (maybe put 2-3 examples into a single entry.)
6. A copy of your legislator's daily schedule from a particularly busy day (if managing the schedule has been a big part of your job).
7. If your legislator had you go find cosponsors, maybe get a copy of a cosponsor form as an entry.
You get the idea. Just about anything can go into your portfolio. And, as you see from examples 2 and 3, your entries don't necessarily need to include things you produced yourself. In fact, the cover pages you'll write about each entry (after the internship) will be more important as I assign grades than the entries themselves.
Start collecting entries if you haven't already. With the session halfway over, you should have MORE than half the required number of entries by now.
I've just been reading your mid-session reports. (A few of you still need to submit these.... better to get a late penalty than a zero...) I'll be responding to each of them within the next day or two.
Whether things are going well or poorly, I encourage you to have a conversation along these lines tomorrow: "The session is halfway over. Can we take a moment to discuss what I'm doing well and what I could do differently?"
I'll be in the capitol tomorrow morning, maybe 9:30 to noon. Call, text, or email if you want to connect. I'll be hunting down a few of you that I have yet to bump into up there. If you email later than 7:40am tomorrow, I might not get it right away, of course.
You have an assignment due over the weekend for 399r. Check the 399r syllabus for instructions. The assignment is not intended to be difficult and shouldn't take more than 15 minutes for most of you. It's important, though, so please don't forget.
I just discovered that photos of the day we met with the governor are right here.
Photo 2. Oh yes. Photo 2. I am so cool. Oh yes.
A large group of your fellow students are coming to the capitol this morning to hear from various legislators, watch some floor time, and tour the building. Some of you went on this trip last year, which led you to get involved this year. If you see the BYUPAS group (that's BYU Political Affairs Society), tell them how awesome the internship is and that they should totally do it next year.
Week 2 is wrapping up. By tomorrow evening, you'll have already worked 30% of the General Session. Nuts, huh?
I'll be in the capitol 8-12 tomorrow. I'll be spending a fair amount of that time in various meetings. If you see me, though, take a moment to tell me how it's going on and what sorts of projects you've been working on, especially if we didn't connect last Friday when I was up there. You can call or text if you want to arrange a specific meeting.
If things are not going as you'd hoped, or if you are feeling way more bored than you should, definitely plan to meet with me tomorrow. We should talk sooner than later. I hope nobody's in that situation, but if you are, please let me know.
Tomorrow (Friday) I'll be in the capitol from around 9:30 until 11:30ish. If you can, please take a moment to tell me how things are going. Once floor time starts, you'll find me in the galleries.
Enjoy the opening ceremonies. I'll see you at the opening social tonight. If you are meeting your legislator for the first time today, submit assignment C for 399r by tomorrow evening. (If you can hand it to me hard copy at the social this evening, that would be even better.)
I'll arrive in the capitol around 3pm. If you see me and have a moment, I'd love to hear your first impressions.
Congratulations; you have successfully located the course website. You're off to a good start this semester! I will periodically post announcements to this site. The most recent announcement will always appear at the top.
Please view the syllabus for the official list of dates and deadlines. Add them to your calendar and plan to be there. Contact me if there is a problem.